Community Allotment: Life Lesson

Posted by Teen Bean in , , , , ,

So we have this little allotment that we like to think is a community allotment. The dream was to have loads of people from our estate coming together and help grow plants (and their relationship with the creator God!) We wanted to read a bible verse and let the work of tending the earth inspire our prayers.

Over the last year this has and has not happened. What I have learned is that lots of people like the idea of growing things in an allotment but, when push comes to shove, are not interested in showing  up on a regular bases to make that happen!

However! Something else I have learned is that with just a few people, lots of work can be done (both physically and spiritually) and lots of magic can happen right before yours eyes. 

Above all, the allotment teaches me about patience. We do have a big dream about growing people's desire and love for the earth that God created... But every great dream starts small... Just like every great harvest started as just a palm full of seeds.

But that is distracting me from the lesson I learned just this last week at our allotment. I believe that God speaks to humans in all manner of creative ways. Now I get it, humans hear that word "speak" and very logically think that in order to hear God they have to hear THE actual audible voice of God (which in our human minds is probably some mixture of darth vader + mustafa + Ron burgundy). 

But I honestly can say I have heard the voice of God with out actually hearing an audible voice. I guess it's in the same way that someone looks at a painting and says "this piece speaks to me" or an audience listening to their favourite musical instrument can respond "that really spoke to me". We get it. We don't actually think that a painting grew a mouth and spoke or that a musical instrument can carry on a conversation, but we realise there is a beautiful and totally intimate way humans are able to communicate thoughts, emotions and action all with out saying one word.

That is why I love our allotment. I get to go, and not just see or appreciate, but actually be a part of the glorious art canvas God created called Earth. And the most amazing part is that unlike all those art pieces that are fixed, out of reach and just for display; God's art is calling out for people to get involved and learn more about his love as we immerse ourselves in his creation.

So again slightly getting off topic, but it's good to see that I try and approach our allotment times not as just a time to grow  vegetables and build team spirit, but as times to let God use his art creations to speak to me about who he is. And the more I know who God is, then the more I will know what He is up to. And the more I know what he is up to, the more I know how I can join in His plan to add good to this world. A real time for him to tell me how much he loves me and for me to tell him how much I love him all in ACTION (which is what love is all about).

So as I was weeding my ever growing garlic plants, I tried to think about how the work I was doing to grow vegetables could inspire the growth of our Christ centred community. There were loads of weeds around the garlic (and everything else to be fair). I mean one week of leaving this allotment alone and we had loads of work on our hands (ever felt that about the community you are in?). So I needed to get these garlic weeded and on to the next. I grabbed our ever trusty hoe and was just getting ready to hoe the rows when I realised that in the excitement of planting we had made the rows to close together and to get a hoe down a row would inevitably take out the garlics plants too! I threw the hoe aside, got down on my knees and had to hand weed the whole of the garlic bed. I kept thinking, "so much work! Why didn't we think of the tools we were going to use to maintain these plants before we just rushed to plant them!?!". 

Then the great moment. In my own thoughts, frustrations and work God spoke to me. He reminded me that planting and sowing is important but it takes a wise person to not just see the seeds that will be planted but the full mature plants they will become. It takes the courage to believe that when seeds are planted God will do the growing but God likes people to get involved with helping to maintain how he grows plants (or people)... And people can do that the easy way or the hard way. The true life lesson was learned as God reminded me that as a leader of a Christ centred community I need to make sure to be excited about spiritually planting seeds of hope into people but to have the wisdom to look into the future and ask "how will we maintain this grown when it is much much much bigger than these seeds we are planting!?!" Cuz, know this, God will grow the seeds that we plant, but he gives us the freedom to choose how we get involved with helping plants (or people) grow... And we can either do that the easy way, with well thought out tools, or the hard way, with out any tools at all!

Prayer Activities: Turkey

Posted by Teen Bean in , , , , , , , ,

Colchester Boiler Room has recently sent a team of people off to Turkey. Two of the people from our community have plans to move there in the early part of 2014!

With excitement, anticipation and hope we sent them off as they continue on the first start of this journey.

Those of us left here in good old Colchester held a time of prayer for our Turkey Team. We wanted to pray inspired by the culture and people of Turkey...  in the way they naturally live and are... and then pray they would see Jesus where they are currently at.

Hahaha I wil say that I don't know that much about Turkish culture and I aso didn't have an extensive time to look into it, but the hour of prayer that we had set up went so quickly and was really amazing I thought that I would mention some of it here to help inspire those looking for creative ways to pray.

To begin we started outside the prayer room. We asked people to take their shoes off and as they did to really leave behind all the drama, stresses or worries that might be playing on their mind.

We then went into the prayer room. In Turkey a huge percentage of the population practices the Muslim faith. One aspect of this is to pray 5 times a day. Since we only had an hour we decided to still pray 5 different times through out the hour, which basically meat we set a timer for 10 min intervals and prayed every 10 min! We really loved this because when the timer went off through out the hour we would all stand up and we had chosen a short prayer to read out all together. At first everyone was a bit shy, but by the last few times the timer went off we were all jumping up and shouting out the prayer.

One of the things we really wanted to pray for was Hope. We put a water jug in the middle of the room and went and found little shot glasses (wink wink). We talked about how living lives of hope is about working together, being intentional and sometimes going out of your way to make it happen. So even though there was no water in the room we all needed to grab a little glass and go find water in the house and then bring it back and pour it in the jug until the jug was over flowing.... WITH HOPE WATER!!!

As we started we prayed that as we went out of our way to work together to fill this jug with water that it would be our prayer for the Turkey team that they would be intention, work together and create hope that was over flowing.

This was really great and everyone really got into it and started saying their prayers of hope as they poured their little shot glasses of water into the jug. We also let ourselves be inspired by the activity and prayed for people not to be discouraged by the messiness of gathering hope to over flowing (we did have a few spills of water... my bad!!) ... and also we thanked God for the joy of all working together to  create hope as we started cheers-ing the cups before we poured the water glasses as well!

Then we wanted to create a Turkish Rug!!! we didn't have any classic abilities to weave rugs, but we grabbed some big pieces of paper and cut them in to strips and let each color of paper represent a different person on the Team. we wrote our prayers down for each person and then worked together to weave them altogether.

Before we knew it the hour was over and we were really amazed at how God worked together and we pray that the Turkey Team is blessed and much hope and unity is found and overflowing.